Summary: The directions given by the Lord Jesus about how we are to pray. Looking at the format of Jesus prayer and seeing how we can use it to more effectively pray to the Father.
The Lord’s Prayer
What follows is most often called the Lord’s Prayer although in some circles of Christianity it may be known as The Our Father.
Luke 11:2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: " `Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. (3) Give us each day our daily bread. (4) Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. ’ "
Luke’s rendering of the Lord’s Prayer is a condensed version of the one given in Matthew Chapter 6:9-14 which I have provided here for comparison.
Matthew 6:9 "This, then, is how you should pray: " `Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (10) your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us today our daily bread.
(12) Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’
Before we begin dissecting this prayer let us first realize that this was not the exact prayer that Jesus said we are to pray, this is an example of a format that we could use. Excessive repetition of this exact prayer earns us nothing, in fact Jesus Himself recommends against repetitive prayer in Matthew’s gospel. Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (8) Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Repetitive prayer was what the pagans did saying over and over again the same words—passing them through their mouths but not through their minds and hearts. We don’t earn points with God by praying in repetition; He looks at our hearts and would rather have us speak to Him like we would our Earthly father—from the heart.
This is a format that Jesus recommended for prayer, let’s look at it:
Luke 11:2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: " `Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give recognition to God the Father for Who He is and what He has done for us. Recognize Him as the creator; praise His greatness in all creation.
Pray for the arrival of His kingdom on the Earth. Pray to be used toward that arrival.
(3) Give us each day our daily bread.
Pray for our daily needs whatever they may be, not just food. We may pray for protection, wisdom, help with grief, suffering, sadness, friendship, holy living the things that we need Him for in our lives. Pray that he will sustain us daily and submit all our daily needs to Him.
(4) Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
Pray for forgiveness of sin—when we sin we should take it to God immediately and seek forgiveness—Jesus is our only mediator and it is not necessary to seek a “confessional” before a priest to get forgiveness. The bible is clear here when it says, 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (6) who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.
When looking at the above scripture we realize that prayer through Mary or any of the so called “saints” is useless prayer since there is only one mediator or go between who exists between God and man and He is Jesus Christ. Why then would we attempt to pray to God through anyone else? This long popular but unbiblical teaching is based on some very old denominational traditions (not on scripture) and has led many of our prayers astray--they don’t get to God the Father through anyone but Christ. Pray only through Jesus, He is the only mediator or go-between between God and man.
While seeking for forgiveness of our sins we must realize that Jesus says our forgiveness is dependant upon how we forgive those who have sinned against us. Many Christians get bottled up in this area because they expect forgiveness (which doesn’t come) because they refuse to forgive others who have trespassed against them. Forgiveness of others is essential in the Christian walk and to be totally forgiven one must be totally forgiving. This is a difficult pill to swallow for some and it causes a binding in their Christian walk that they won’t get free of until they learn to forgive. This forgiveness of other is of such importance that Jesus at one point said this to the Jews: Matthew 5:23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, (24) leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.